Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Classroom party, in-laws coming
and trick or treating to do.
Happy Halloween!
I hope yours is full of sweet things and fun!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Baked Potato Soup

For more awesome crock pot and soup recipes hop on over to BooMama's Souptacular Crockpotalooza!
Okay, here's mine! **Originally posted in March 2008, so much better on a cold Fall Day!***

Potato Soup is such a comfort food for me. My mom used to make it all the time when I was growing up. She makes it from memory, though and does not have a recipe for me to post.
So, I made this one from my Southern Living Slow-Cooker Cookbook and it is yummy! I dare say, almost as good as moms. My family LOVES this soup.

Here is the recipe: See more photos below!

"Baked" Potato Soup

  • 6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. (about 3 3/4 pounds)
  • large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 (14 oz.) cans of chicken broth with roasted garlic (I used plain and added fresh garlic)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup whipping cream or half-and-half
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 T. chopped fresh chives
  • 1 (8 oz.) container sour cream (optional)
  • 4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled or use bacon bits
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
Combine first 6 ingredients in a 5-quart slow cooker.
Cover and cook on HIGH 4 hours or on Low 8 hours or until potato is tender.
Mash mixture until potatoes are coarsely chopped and soup is slightly thickened: stir in cream, cheese, and chives.

Top with sour cream, if desired, and sprinkle with bacon and cheddar cheese before serving. Makes 12 cups.

I also adapted this recipe for my Saladmaster customers

First of all, the recipe says to peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/2 inch cubes.

Can you say time consuming? And also there are tons of vitamins in the peeling. So, I scrubbed the potatoes and got any yucky parts or eyes off. I just cut them up on my food processor and rinsed them before cooking.
Then, I used my Saladmaster Food processor to cut them up.

Here is less than a minute later. That is 6 large russet potatoes cut on the #3 cone.
Now an onion. - 10 seconds later on the #2 cone. If you quarter the onion longways and hold meat side down on the cone, you should just be left with the peeling in your hand.

3 minutes later the first 6 ingredients are in the slow cooker and ready to go.
The recipe says to cook it in a traditional slow cooker for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

In my Saladmaster it took me 2 hours: medium - click - low.
(If you want to use your regular 4 or 7 quart roaster on top of the stove, you can do that. You do not need a slow cooker to make this recipe in your Saladmaster)

And if I was not ready to take it off at the end of those 2 hours, then I could have just left it there on low until I was ready. It. is. a. beautiful. thing.

After it was finished, I added the half-and-half, the scallions and the shredded cheddar cheese.

My family loved it! I added bacon bits, sour cream and more cheddar cheese.

Nice crusty bread and a salad...dinner! (You know, you just can't take a picture that makes potato soup actually look good, but it was! I promise.)

Happy Cooking,

Halloween Past

This was 2 years ago. Some things stay the same - L will be another superhero this year. B will always "model" for photos.

Some things change - my little people are getting big. 5 and 2 here. It seems like yesterday.

For more fun photos, go to A Thousand Words Thursday at Cheaper Than Therapy.

Does This Bother Anyone Else?

Is it just me or does it bother anyone else that when you go to early vote you don't have to show in identification in North Carolina?

All you do is tell them your name. They look you up and say your address back to you. You agree and then you vote. THAT'S IT! No voter card. No id. Nothin'.

Is it like that in your state?

Why why why is it like this?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's On My Nightstand?

What's On Your NightstandI know this little carnival was yesterday but I forgot and then I remembered today and it is still there so...I am going to join in because I love the two books I am reading right now.

I cannot put this one down.
It is a true story but you will not believe it as you start reading. I seriously checked the book several times to make sure I was what I was reading was in fact a true story.
The trade off of narrating between the two authors is very engaging. They are both funny and entertaining. Often when a book does this I will be confused but each of their voices is so unique you will know right away who is speaking. They have similar backgrounds in that they both grew up so incredibly poor but also they are so different because one is white and one is black. Hence, the title.
The language is real. The rhythm is constant and the story draws you in immediately.


I am also reading this. The author is Eugene Peterson - translator of The Message. The Message is one of my favorite translations of the bible because it is so simple and relevant to what someone might hear in a conversation today.
He is writing here about the life of David - called a man after God's own heart. He tells a story of how we, as Christ followers can relate to David and what we can learn from the hope that David found in God.
It is well written and engaging much like you would expect from Peterson.
This is a great book to read in a group because it follows scripture and you can discuss it as you read each chapter. It is a great way to explore the books of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel.
Go to 5 Minutes for Books for more great books!
Happy Reading!

Wordless Wednesday - Silliness

Silly kiddos. Fun times.
For more Wordless Wednesday go to 5 Minutes for Mom

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Grocery Finds and Coupons!

I am loving this new bread from Arnold.
No High Fructose Corn Syrup!

Yay - finally someone got smart in the bread world and created a SOFT bread without that stuff.

Here is a link for coupons for a few states but not NC. Check to see if yours is in there.

Or this site is talking about ordering coupons in case you are interested.

Although, a many stores you can get it on sale right now because it is new.

Oh, and since I feel so healthy eating my sandwich with that bread,
I went ahead and picked up this. Okay. This. Is. So. Good.
I know a certain sis in law that would enjoy! ;)

So, here is a coupon - go getcha some!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Watch Oprah October 28!

My good friends will be part of the Oprah show on October 28! That is tomorrow. Or today if you get this tomorrow.

Anyway, you have to watch!

The show will feature 12 amazing children and that will be in a new book with Celine Dion called 12 Heroes Among Us: An Incredible Journey with Celine Dion

Our friends have had a wonderful experience with Celine Dion as this book was being assembled. Celine and her team have been SO kind to them. There are photos and of course the stories of these incredible kids and their parents in this book. I can't wait to get a copy! I can have it autographed even!

Our friends have a sweet, smart, strong little girl named Anna. She is my daughter's age and they are good buddies.

You can read all about Anna's story and her part in the book right here. She is a miracle. Literally a walking miracle.

I remember when her mom was pregnant. I was pregnant at the same time. We had just both moved into our neighborhood and not yet met. I heard through the grapevine that her baby had Spina Bifida. My heart broke for this new mom because I too was going to be a new mom and just knew how this news would make me feel.

Like everything she does, she handled it with the most amazing grace. Later, after our babies were born, I would become good friends with Anna's mom. She has been a true blessing in my life! She went on to have 3 more children and continues to amaze me daily. They are a family full of faith and I have been privileged to witness their walk.

So they tell me there are some great stories that Oprah is going to feature tomorrow. Click here to see a slide show preview.

So, check your local listings, watch some Oprah, grab some tissues and take a break.
Raleigh - ABC 11 at 4 pm.

Let me know what you think!

Bloggy Carnival Giveaway Time! - iTunes Card

*** Giveaway comments have been closed now. I will post the winner tomorrow! Thank you everyone for stopping by and for your comments!***

It's that time again!

The big Bloggy Giveaway Carnival!

Seriously, it just started today and there are over 700 giveaways!!!! Even if you don't blog you can enter and get a jumpstart on Christmas. Go Here and check it out.

In honor of my lost iPod and I am hoping for good karma and that it will find it's way home...

I am giving away a $15 iTunes card.

It was a popular giveaway before, so I am hoping you will love it again!

Okay, just leave a comment with your newest most favorite song. That's it!

No duplicate comments, please.
If you are not a blogger, please leave some way to contact you.
I will keep the contest open until Saturday, November 1 and will draw a winner on November 2.

Okay, go!

And please come back. I am just a crazy mom with a lot on her mind! You can subscribe over in the sidebar!

Rock on,

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hang On!

I took this photo last night at our Fall Festival at church. The kids had a blast and it was so amazing to see what the staff at our church puts together. They really do everything so first class. I loved seeing all the volunteers - especially the ones that were helping direct traffic!
They seemed to be having a lot of fun.

So B decided she wanted to ride this bull. She stayed on for about 30 seconds which was really good, I thought. I know I would have fallen off immediately! Good thing there was a soft landing.

I yelled, "Hang On!" right before the guy started the bull.

Hang on is the perfect statement for a Monday. When I look at my calendar, it almost seems ominous at all the things I have to do even up through the weekend!

I just need to take it day by day - even hour by hour and Hang On for what the week will bring!

How about you? What's this week look like for you?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Linked Up

From Jen at Cheaper than Therapy - she always makes me laugh
Think Before you Ink

Why Do You Blog? Or Not - Lysa TerKeurst wants to know! ;)

The 10 Best Etsy Shops from the iLash Girls

To Twitter or Not from Jo-Lynne at Musings of a Housewife

The most beautiful Pot Pie Ever over at La Vida Dulce

Okay, that should keep you busy. I have a party tonight at my home where we are picking the winner of our Mina Project Raffle. We are giving away 2 Wiis, a Guitar Hero, Rockband and a beach trip!!!! We raised almost $2,800! Very cool.

More randomness for this Saturday.

I am making pancakes this morning!

I am making chili because it is CHILLY here. Some fun dips to go along with it and we are roasting marshmallows on our patio if it is not raining.

I just figured out today that I can check my replies on Twitter. I thought I was just tweeting out in space, but alas, you all were tweeting back to me! Sorry to have missed that.

I am still trying to figure out Firefox and how to get a photo on Twitter. I am so techie- challenged actually. I just keep trying, though!

My daughter went to the coolest Halloween party last night. These brave parents (3 sets) had about 40 kids in their back yard! And it rained. The kids just played in the rain and ran in the "haunted woods". She had a blast.

Okay, Happy Saturday!

Friday, October 24, 2008

What Am I Forgetting?

I got this overwhelming feeling I was forgetting something this morning.

I brushed it off as I hurried out the door to volunteer in B's classroom and left my son with Hubby.

It was only when I returned home...about 11:15 AM... that I saw my son's clothes that we laid out the night before.

And. Then.

It was then that I realized I had forgotten to take my son to preschool.


The kid goes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Today, he played Lego Star Wars with his Dad.

Mom of the year, right here in North Carolina.

My brain seems to still be missing this week since the loss of the iPod.

Finally Friday

It's Finally Friday! This week I have been on this 5 Day Food Challenge that my church kicked off this past weekend.

Basically, it is part of a much bigger project that we have going on called the Mina Project.

"...'Put this money to work, 'he said, 'until I come back." -- Luke 19:13

We first did this back in November of 2007 with $35,000 and turned it into $200,000. This time our congregation was given $50,000 in cash and the hope is to bring back $400,000 this weekend so that we can give it to some local charities and build a hospital in Haiti.

You can read more about this awesome project HERE. It has been very cool to see how creative everyone has been with their money to make it grow.

The 5 Day Food Challenge was kind of the icing on the cake, so to speak, to finish the Mina.

Basically, the premise is that the American diet is so different than half of the world. Some living on less than $2 a day. That doesn't even cover my latte.

So, the challenge was to eat like those in a third world country might for 5 days! Then to give the money we saved back to the Mina Project. We were asked to pick one meal. Hubby and I actually tried to do 3 meals a day without any snacks. Even the kids joined in some days. For the most part we did a pretty good job. (It was hard!)

The meals consisted of:

Plain oatmeal or Cream of Wheat
Plain tortilla, rice and beans
Rice with bits of fish or chicken and a vegetable
So, Friday is the last day of this. I have never eaten so many beans in my life.

I learned some things this week.

1. I eat too much meat on a general basis and We really don't need as much as we think to be full. Basically, I eat too much!

2. I throw out way too many leftovers. We did not waste any food because I made rice and beans and some veges at the beginning of the week and have been eating from that all week.

3. I thought this would be easy. I have fasted and I thought it would be easier to at least have some type of food. What I found out is that I am spoiled and I want what I want when I want it. If I want a cheeseburger, I can have one within a short period of time. Chocolate - in the pantry. A fresh crisp apple - sitting on my counter. It was hard to deal with the fact that I didn't have more choices.

So, I'm learning to count my blessings as far as our food consumption goes. I hear a lot of talk about the price of food going up and to be sure - it has! My grocery bill is outrageous these days, but maybe I don't need as much as I buy. I was counting my blessings that within 5 minutes of my house there are 4 grocery stores that I can just walk into and buy whatever food I want. Blessed for sure.

It's Finally Friday, though and that means I will be finished with the food challenge. I am so glad I did it, though. I felt the heartbeat of another part of the world for the last 5 days by doing this.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Go Aquatic Review

Oh, we get some kind of dirty in this house! I encourage lots of playtime outside and that means dirt. While my kids love to play in the bath sometimes it is hard to get them to actually come inside to do that. But, bathtime was never so much fun as it is with the Bath Blizzard. This toy creates many bubbles for tubtime...

Read more here

We also love to draw. The kids have a smaller AquaDoodle pad, but this bigger one was so much fun to...
Go here for more!

Should Have Been a Cowgirl

So, in my effort to get my room more couple focused, I am placing photos of the just the two of us in the room.

This photo was taken about 15 years ago! We were in our early 20's. It has been on my vanity or dresser since the day I got it developed. We lived in Dallas and used to get all gussied up in our best "cowboy" attire to go out to a country bar called Denim and Diamonds. Hubby's brother worked there and we just had so much fun together trying to dance the Two Step.

Look at my hat! I actually still have that hat. Not sure why, but it does live in the very back corner of my closet. I don't have the heart to give it away and who knows, maybe it will come in handy for a cowgirl costume one day. I still have the real lizard skin black cowboy boots, too. They don't fit but I still keep them.

I read somewhere that you should to have current photos in your bedroom so as not to look back on the old ones and focus on what your relationship was like then vs. what it is now.

I disagree. I like having both. I liked what it was then and I like even better what it is now. So, I do have both types of photos in our room. Sometimes what "they" say - just doesn't apply to everyone.

Want to see more fun flashback photos? Check out Sincerely Fro' Me To You at We are THAT Family.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Need Help Sleeping?

Hubby has some trouble sleeping. It seems his brain starts to process his day about the time the rest of his body shuts down. Since my brain is shut down most of the time I usually don't have this issue, but I am not willing to sleep without him, so we've tried a couple things....

The water fountain

Stress relief CDs and Music - some of them are just weird.

Sound machine. Birds chirping doesn't seem too natural at midnight. The rain is my favorite.

He recently bought this pillow and likes it a lot.

And this on our bed is nice.

Ultimately, we just have to give up the fight.

For More Wordless Wednesday photos go to 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday - My bedroom

A couple weeks ago, I was talking about my bedroom needing some attention. I actually started last year. Or maybe the year before. Anyway, I got distracted and stopped.

So, here are some things I have done lately. My big tackle for the quarter!

I have this love for jewelry. My budget allows me to afford costume or handmade items. Hubby purchases me the more expensive items for special occasions. Sweet man.

I have many many necklaces and really did not know what to do with them. They were basically hanging all over my room.

Over candle holders and lamps, in my jewelry box, in my nightstand and all over the top of my dresser.

I like to see them, so I hated to put them away because then I forget they are there.

So, I made this! Well, I saw the idea in Better Homes and Gardens and then made it

Because being original is not really my thing.

I found a small bulletin board. Painted it all matchy matchy for my bedroom. Got some clear thumbtacks (although, I am on the lookout for some cool ones) and hung my necklaces on them! (If you look really close in the left corner you can see a necklace that my daughter made me - it says I love you in plastic beads - so sweet.)

So, I put it in that area in my bedroom that needed to be finished out and painted. Hubby finished painting it and B who watches entirely too much HGTV instructed me to make it my little vanity area. Crazy enough, the kid knows what she is talking about! So, I moved my jewelry box, new jewelry board, a lamp and a photo and I now have a new little corner all to myself.

Hubby was like, "I thought I was painting this so we could make our room more cozy and romantic."

And I was like, "Yeah, now I love you even more for painting this for me, so let's go get cozy!"

Anyway, here it is: I am not totally loving the mirror or lamp, but I will work on replacing those. These things take time.

I have tried to make the bedroom very focused on just the two of us. No toys or no pictures of the kids.

On this shelf is a wooden fish is from an anniversary trip to Jamaica. The big World Travel book is how he proposed to me (another story for another time), the jewelry box is from him. There are photos of us only and shells from beach trips.

Oh okay, I did put a picture of each of our babies, but they are part of us, ya know?

I finished the chair.

My "upholstery job".

One of my friends was so impressed because she read on my blog that I could upholster a chair.

Yeah, I may have over stated my ability just a bit.

So, let me clarify - A big piece of foam, fabric and a staple gun is my idea of re-upholstering a chair.

Finally, I added a few relaxing touches like this fountain which Hubby also gave me as a gift. I found that cool square candle at Tuesday Morning for very cheap and then found the square holder and diffuser at Pottery Barn. On. Sale. Snap.

And this blanket. Some plants.

Do you think those lamps should be bigger? I am thinking they look too smallish. They don't seem that way in my room but his picture seems to make them look too small.

My last addition will be to paint my ceiling and replace the ceiling fan. As soon as Hubby is on board with that. These things also take time.

For more Tackle It Tuesday projects go Here!

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